7 Tips For Effective Digital Volunteer Management

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A crowded 2020 primary and a critical general election make activating strong networks of digital volunteers, and effective volunteer management, a necessity. Digital organizing offers an efficient and scalable way to do that quickly. By organizing online, campaigns can build powerful digital communities and mobilize supporters year-round.

These seven tips will help you make the most of your organizing work in our digital world:

Bring It Online

Your volunteers are online. They’ll bring your messaging online, too.

Volunteers can be star canvassers, delegates to their home communities, and digital influencers all at the same time. For effective digital outreach strategies and volunteer management, it’s important to adapt your campaign’s messaging for easy social sharing.

Here are a few quick volunteer management tips:

  • Keep messages brief.
  • Add more photos.
  • Use succinct calls-to-action to keep supporters engaged.

Early Volunteer Management Wins

Start volunteer management early for the best results.

Successful organizers build the mindset that digital volunteer management is an integral part of the campaign from the very beginning. Staffers should make it a priority that volunteers always know what they are doing and why. From day one on. Start your volunteer program with a strategy you can articulate day in and day out – that way volunteers are always clear on what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and, most importantly, why it matters.

All volunteering requires some guidance and training. Give yourself time to recruit supporters to be volunteers, build meaningful relationships with those people, train them, and engage them with targeted volunteer activities. Doing so builds a base that is valuable not only on election day but year round.

Welcome. Mobilize. Remind. Recruit.

Welcome first. Mobilize, remind, and recruit second.

When you first contact a new supporter, welcome them to your community and ask them why supporting your campaign is important to them.

Kicking off your conversation with a welcome keeps new relationships from feeling transactional. Offering volunteers a chance to share their stories signals that organizers value supporters as people, and, as a result, volunteers are more active in the long-run.

Let Them Tell Their Story

Help your volunteers tell their story online.

Help your volunteers become digital storytellers. Ask questions like “What issues do you care about most?” and “Why are you excited about joining our team?”. Doing so builds relationships with volunteers, which can help them feel valued and understood and can help you humanize the organization’s entire message in a personal way.

In the beginning, some volunteers may feel uncomfortable sharing their story. An organizer can help supporters feel comfortable by offering encouragement and prompting them to share when the time is right. Digital tools that offer easy methods of communication between organizers and volunteers can help provide a space to have these conversations at scale.

Relationship First

Stronger relationships activate volunteers.

Stronger relationships between organizers and volunteers translate into more volunteer action. By reaching out to volunteers with short, targeted messages, you can build the foundations for meaningful relationships that benefit your campaign.

In the digital space, these touches are quick, scalable, and effective. Our experience designing Team Chat, a digital space for staffers to communicate instantly with Team volunteers, helped us discover that developing one-on-one relationships helped turn supporters into engaged volunteers. It makes sense: I’ve always said volunteers walk into the field office for the candidate, but they return if they made a friend.

Discussion Amplifies Your Message

Always make room for discussion. It amplifies your message!

Online communities are a digital space for supporters to bond over issues they care about. After sharing campaign messaging or online content, it’s important to create a space were your volunteers can share their thoughts with organizers and with each other.

Digital tools that offer message amplification features provide an incredibly helpful way to build your base through rapid response. By plugging into new ways people communicate and obtain information, tools like Team give your content a set of trusted messengers to reach more potential supporters.

Create a Data Feedback Loop

Use digital tools to track your data and run experiments.

Great content is not a one-way street. Instead, it should spur feedback and conversation that allows campaigns to experiment with different types of messaging, bridging the gap between traditional ad-buying digital and traditional analog field strategies. 

Digital tools offer ways to automatically track a message’s reach and salience. By tracking the performance of your online messaging with measurable analytics, you can discover what type of content resonates with supporters the most.

Leave no vote on the table.

As 2020 nears, campaigns must build the best voter contact programs possible. These seven tips lay the foundation for effective digital programs that scale, capacity-build, and reach supporters online. By putting these tips to use, organizations come a few steps closer to ensuring that crucial votes are not left on the table.

  Volunteers

About

Biography: Shola Farber is an organizer and a technologist who believes in the power of people-centered tech to build a more inclusive democracy. After completing her masters in public policy and international law, Shola served in the Obama Administration, worked on the business side at POLITICO, and was a regional director for HFA. In late 2016, Shola co-founded The Tuesday Company to revolutionize how we activate supporters into trackable manageable digital volunteers. Tuesday’s Team app allows candidates, nonprofits, and unions to build community around take meaningful action that meets people where they are.